Jesus, Peace, Freedom & our Homeschool

The theme this week is Seeking Beauty: the Fine Arts, and Everything that Brings Beauty into our Homeschools.  Find other posts HERE, and visit the host Susan, HERE.

Jesus Peace & Freedom


I had no idea what I would title this post, often I have the title before the actual content comes to mind, it is how my brain works .. As I went through writing it I was still going back and forth on what to call it.

Then I saw it~

We began homeschooling for many reasons, and like most homeschoolers quickly found that what we fell in love with about homeschool was the building of relationships, the freedom to choose, and the peace.

Isn’t it funny how when you know and come to Jesus, peace and freedom follow?

OK, maybe not funny, but amazing and wonderful.

Our days are often not as ideal as I’d like, but for the most part, they are pretty enjoyable and peaceful.  Our mornings aren’t rushed, our relationships are strong and growing daily (praise the Lord), and we try to keep Jesus the center of our home and education.

Each morning I really do feel a peace about our day starting out (it may or may not stay that way depending on the 2 year old’s disposition =P) .. I wake up and I don’t dread it.  The absolute beauty in our homeschool is that we enjoy it.  It comes with Jesus, peace, and freedom.

What Brings Beauty to Our Homeschool


Truly, Jesus brings the most beauty in our home and homeschool.  From reminding me to give grace, to giving me grace, Jesus is why I am confident this homeschooling thing will work out.  I have no doubt in my mind that if we raise our 4 babies with Jesus and lead them by example that God will take care of the details.  He is going to make sure everything else falls into place; as long as we do our part we can sleep well at night.  I don’t need to worry or fret, and I especially don’t need to be concerned with what other people think of our decision.  We’ve got this, because He’s got this. His grace is enough.

The homestead.

I know people every where homeschool, and we would regardless on having the farm.  But the farm makes is so much fun.  There is so much beauty in going outside and being free of confinement.  No walls, no city streets, no city noises. Just freedom and peace.  Our family really enjoys that, and it enriches our homeschool day.


I would specifically say Sonlight here, but this year we took a break from SL for age purposes.  But I would definitely say Sonlight enriches and brings so much beauty to our homeschool.  And then books in general.  There are so many obvious reasons for this, but my favorite include the lessons, the imagination & creativity, and again, freedom, that books bring to our home and school.  I am very excited because my 2 year old is finally getting into the “I will sit still and be quiet long enough for everyone to enjoy a book,” which means we can get back to reading aloud more often.  I am already looking forward to next year when we redo Sonlight’s Core A with my then 7 and 5 year olds.  We also love the Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row books.


I keep mentioning this- maybe THAT should be my word for 2017 (ha).  One reason we homeschool is so we have time for what we love.  We school on a year round schedule, so we can take every other Friday off for co-op, and every other Wednesday off for cleaning day.  This also helps with catch up days.  I try to block off one week every 6 weeks for a week off.  So far this year they have been used when family came in town, when we went on vacation, or when we needed to catch up from a sick week.  But there is freedom in our weekly schedule.

There is also freedom in our daily routine- we can do as much or as little as needed, focus on what we want, do extra studies of interest, read any book we like (banned from public school or not), learn with books, the computer, create lapbooks.

We get to talk about Jesus, sin, death, life, babies being born, how to butcher a cow, what taxes really are (haha), what it means to serve others, and how anything works any time we want to.

We can stop what we’re doing for a video, a dance session, a board game; we can do school in our pajamas (or sans clothes if you are a certain 2year old), outside, read on the swing, under a tree, school in the morning, in the afternoon, take naps, eat nutritious home cooked meals and snacks, play in the mud before school starts, and of course have our chickens tag along.  Freedom.

And of course that freedom encompasses so much more, but I just touched on a few of the obvious choices.


We have recently found a comfortable community that is accepting and fun, loves Jesus, and is our own little comfy place.  We meet every other Friday for co-op classes that (for now at least) are fitting our schedule and needs.  The kids are doing fun things we don’t always have time for at home, and mama gets a brain break (though it is physically exhausting and takes a lot of prep on my end).
I have been craving a community & I feel like God took care of that.  I heard him telling me to just be still, and wait.  And once I finally let go, and let Him just hold us, he took care of it all.  Duh.

Then there is the online homeschool community, which mostly just rocks.  There is no limit to the questions I can ask and have help with in one of my favorite Sonlight groups.  There is also the homeschool opportunities we will get to be more involved in as my children get older.  Just 1-2 years will make a huge different in what they can participate in, in terms of activities and groups.  They are still little, and we don’t believe in a go-go-go lifestyle for our young family, but there will be a time and place to take advantage of those things.

So much goes into our homeschool, but mostly it is a lifestyle. And we really enjoy it.  Becoming lifelong learners that don’t stress over learning because it is just what we do makes this fun for all of us.

Putting Jesus front and center brings the peace and freedom that forms our homeschool.

Beauty in Our Homeschool VCF Week 5

What brings beauty to your homeschool?


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Sonlight Box Day Core A {2015/2016}

Last week we began our official 2015/2016 homeschool year.

By most standards but we don’t go by most standards, now do we? this is early, even for year round schooling. However, with all the chaos of moving and the uncertainty of living in a rent house, the kids needed more structure and routine than we had going.
Lexie kept telling us she didn’t like this home (I don’t blame her, it doesn’t feel like home), and wanted to go back where all our books and things were (most everything is still boxed since we will be moving again in about 36 days, with the exception of our necessities and a few toys/books).
So I felt like we needed something to make the next 2 months feel more secure and emotionally safe for the kids- so what better way than to break out Homeschool Box Day! 🙂  (you can read about our very first Box Day HERE)
Sonlight Core A Box Day!
They were over the moon excited while unboxing everything.  (Please excuse the rather sloppy photo editing, it was mostly done from my phone, since we have very limited internet usage in the rent house.)

Sonlight Core A Box Day!
They are most excited about Curious George!  We aren’t even reading that during our homeschool time; it has just become an ever.single. day. “Can we read Curious George?” time.  They especially love listening to the stories on CD.

We will take it slowly; right now we are focusing on AAR, SL LA, math, doing our daily Sonlight reading from Core A, and the Mister’s BFIAR story. He is listening along for most of the books, but the Before Five in a Row book is specifically for him.  Because I don’t have my printer, laminator, etc unboxed, he isn’t exactly “rowing” the books right now. We can always come back and do that later.

Aside from George, Boxcar Chldren is their other favorite, along with our timeline book and the big map.

Anyway, Box Day was a success and getting back to school time has completely changed the feeling of our home!  The kids are happier; you can just feel the intention in our day and it is wonderful!

Have you done box day?

2014/2015 End of Year Homeschool Overview {Pre-K and Preschool}

curriculum choice 2014/2015 Sonlight

{6/21/2015-we are now done with Sonlight P4/5- yay! I am still unsure of when we will begin 2015/2016 school year}

In the past few weeks we have been finishing up our 2014/2015 school year.  We really have a few days left of reading from Sonlight P4/5, but we are traveling at the moment, and I chose not to bring the books.  So we will finish when we get back home.

But, here is what we have been doing in the last few weeks.

Lexie (4.5yo) Pre-K year:

Lexie has been finishing Sonlight’s P4/5 core (Bible, history, geography/other cultures); we have loved the bible in this core, and may sub it in next year, through Core A.  (or use it for little brother).

In math she has been working through the last of our Singapore Early Bird books.  Honestly, this has taken what seems like FOREVER because I haven’t stuck with it as much.  She can do everything in the books, but doing the assignments is good practice.  In between working through the pages, we have done hands on math using manipulatives like: blocks, counting bears, unifix cubes, and

She has been working on recreating and expanding patterns on paper and using manipulatives, skip counting (which she LOVES to do), and counting backwards.   She is now seeing patterns in everything we do, and everywhere we go, which is fun!

In science we have learned about and discussed the types of animals and what attributes make them mammals, amphibians, reptiles, bird, insects, etc.  Lexie lap booked the frog lifecycle and really enjoyed that.  We have also learned about the seasons and a bit about outer space and the planets.  Obviously none of this was very in-depth (she is 4.5, after all).  But it was all interest led by her and Max.  We used our online science program, Digital Science Online and books to read about and better understand these topics.

In reading, language arts, and handwriting Lexie has been breezing through All About Reading Level 1 and HWOT pre-writing.  We are still working through AAR; some lessons are longer and while Lexie’s ability to read is fairly advanced, her ability to sit through an incredibly long lesson isn’t there. As in most children, her abilities and development in other areas don’t all match up perfectly (hence HOMESCHOOLING bliss!).  So we still have about 10 lessons in AAR to get through.  We are going slowly to keep her confidence up and she loves it!  I hope to finish AAR Level 1 over summer, before we actually begin Core A for the next school year.

HWOT has been great!  I think we are pretty much done with needing the pre-reading level. She is ready to move on; we will use the K level for this coming school year.  Honestly, I am not sure how long we will stick with HWOT.  It has been great for her because her confidence while holding a pencil or crayon was terrible, and now she LOVES writing and drawing of all kinds.  But I am not sure how the methods will work for creating pretty, neat, legible handwriting.  (I hate my handwriting, and wish someone had made me write neater growing up.  So I hope to help encourage her neat handwriting.)  There are a few other programs out there, and after we do the K book, she should developmentally be ready for something a bit more thorough and strict.  We will use HWOT for Mister when he is ready to learn writing; I do believe it is a GREAT beginning program for little ones that need a bit of direction and encouragement.  But again, not sure how I will feel as they get older and need better handwriting.

Max (2.5yo) Preschool:

Mister has been learning to identify his letters.  He knows them now, but his first reaction when asked about a letter? … “I don’t know!” But he does in fact know …  So, again development and personality play a huge part in that.  =)  We are working on identifying his lower case letters, and he does pretty well with that also.  We will be using our book, S is for Smiling Sunrise, to help with that task (read more about that HERE) through next year.

He is still working on identifying his numbers (he knows a few), has grasped and enjoys counting with 1:1 correspondence, counting past 20, counting backwards, and sorting.  He loves to sort by size, color, etc. especially when we play with the counting/sorting bears

For science he has just tagged along with us through the year, focusing mainly on weather, seasons and animals for him.  He likes just about anything that involves him getting attention or touching things!  Typical 2 year old male.  😉

I went ahead and got Mister the AAR Pre Reading Level for next year.  I hope to do a quick lesson with him first thing each day, while Lexie does independent work, so maybe he won’t “need” me as much during her big girl school.  It will be fun for both of us, and encourage his love of learning and reading.

Recently I started back to our circle time routine.  I had taken a break from it after Ila was born, simply because I didn’t have time with nursing & pumping every two hours and I was worn out.  Max also wasn’t very interested in it before now.  Since we have started back he *loves* circle time, singing the songs, and absorbs everything we are doing.  It also helps get some of his wiggles out before we start reading our core books and learning time, which means he is less of a detraction and more cooperative!  *score*

We are also working through his Before Five in A Row, and will continue that through next year.  When that is complete he will just do literature based unit studies that go with whatever topics we are discussing in Core A, until I can decide who will team up with whom for school.

Developmentally and maturity wise, Mister is not where Lexie was at almost 3 years old.  And that is okay!  Some days it is hard, because he is all up in the terrible two’s and Lexie’s were never like this, but he is fun, active, and has a HUGE imagination.  I in no way want to discourage that or put that out by pushing him into academics too soon.  He loves to just run around, dancing and singing or playing with his trucks and tractors.

We will technically homeschool year-round with several breaks throughout; this will allow us to take off when we have illnesses, spring fever, or mama just needs a break.  We will take a few weeks off in the summer from full blown school hours; but we will continue some activities many days of the week just so we have some focus in our home during the day.  Being at home with no routine just in the last few weeks has driven ALL OF US crazy; the kids are begging for school every day, and J.Tom and I are definitely feeling the difference in their attention and behavior with no real structure. 

I will do another post on our hours/weeks of school and breaks.  Since we are in the process of moving to KS (again, love homeschooling because we can start/finish/continue/break when we need to!), I have not yet figured up our number of required hours per day and all that. 

2015/2016 will be my trial year for record keeping, so I will update you on all that soon!

Through all this year, I have reminded myself that BOTH of the older kids are still little.  They are young, and while they love school and learning, play & reading books are still the most important things!  We will end this year on a great note, play and learn all summer long, and pick back up right where we left off in the fall!

How has your homeschool year gone?  Are you ready for a break?

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015/2016 (K5 & Preschool)

Curriculum Choices K5 & Preschool 20152015 {}

Wow- I can’t believe I just typed in title! This year has truly snuck up on us; but alas, I am ready! (I think ..)

I am going to break this down by child/age. It is hard with Lexie, mainly because she is 4.5 years old, 5 in the fall, and doing a mix of kindergarten and first grade work, but is still not old enough to register for school. So while she will be doing mostly first grade and K work, I am not sure what to tell you in terms of “grade” for you to compare or look at for your child. This will be her K5 year (next year will be K6 and she will start 1st when she is 7).
I would recommend looking at the curriculum’s scope and sequence for each level, and ALWAYS do their placement test (at least look over what will be taught in that level and what prerequisite skills are needed to be successful). I will say, Lexie probably didn’t HAVE to begin with AAR Level 1, but I am SO thankful we did because she got that firm foundation before moving on. I know a few parents can get overwhelmed with the school curriculum, which is totally understandable as we’re not professional teachers and have no idea how to even do this work half the time, so seeking advice or a little help can be really useful when setting work for children. Some parents choose for their child to use a tutoring Adelaide service and others choose to use online tools, like YouTube, but whatever the method is, as long as children are learning something it’s all worthwhile.

Good foundation ALWAYS trumps advancement in my opinion, no matter the subject.

Lexie (4.5/5 in the fall, working on K and 1st Grade Level)

  • Core: Sonlight Core A– (history/cultures, geography,Bible) We did P4/5 last year and Lexie just flew through it; she never skipped a beat and I swear she still talks about some of the stories which I have long forgotten … She LOVES it, and so does Max. So we will do Core A next, and Mister (and Ila, too) will sit in with us. I plan on stretching this core 18-24 months, and using it as her “Kindergarten” year curriculum (when she is 6 and we register with the state). We are adding in LOTS of sequels, and I will probably buy the Five In A Row literature pack from RRC (I already have the teacher’s book and a few of the read alouds) to add in also to help stretch it out. This core is SO exciting; we get to begin our timeline book, learn more about geography, look at maps, and expand our learning tremendously! It will be fun!

Language Arts:

  • All About Reading Level 2– Here, AAR is going to give her all the reading skills she needs
  • All About Spelling Level 1– They suggest beginning AAS when your student starts AAR Level 2. From what I have seen this will mostly just reinforce the reading rules she already knows and teach encoding. For all intents a purposes, we will say she will be 5, which is young for a spelling program; but after looking at the scope and sequence, I think she can do it and it will help with her writing. If we aren’t ready, we can shelve it til she is =)
  • Sonlight Language Arts 1- this is really just for extra practice; I like that they include spelling words, narration, comprehension questions, and copywork so I thought we would use it mainly for that. I bought some of the readers, but not all of them. We will just see how we like it. (I don’t feel like their LA’s is “enough” for us, so we will use it as a supplement)


  • Saxon Math K– we were going to use Saxon K this past year, but I just continued on with Singapore K (early bird). Because Lexie isn’t registering for school I am going to use this as a “review,”/nail in the foundation year for math. Plus Saxon will go a bit further & deeper than Singapore did. It will start very basic, but that is fine with us. Max will probably sit in on some of the more basic lessons.


  • Elemental Science– I went around and around on our science choice for over a year. Every single time I landed back on ES. So I finally said, Okay! This is it! You may have read that we enjoy the Charlotte Mason and Classical Education models. I like teaching and organizing this way, and the kids seems to thrive learning with these models (for now), so it is a win win. ES is a classical/CM combo curriculum, and I like that! I will do another post entirely on why we chose ES some other time.


  • Gymnastics at a local gym
  • Violin lessons with a local teacher
  • ARTistic Pursuits (best art curriculum EVER)

Max (2.5/3 yo in fall) Preschool

Ah, I can’t believe I just wrote my baby will be “doing” preschool. Honestly, I am not sure where to begin with him. haha

Mister is definitely a boy- he is developing much faster physically than Lexie was at this age, and isn’t quite where she was cognitively at this age. (for instance, he just started gymnastics and is MUCH better at it than Lexie was when she was 2/5, but he isn’t reading cvc words like she was at that age, either).

  • Before Five In a Row: You know I love some BFIAR! It is easy, fun, and means lots of snuggles with my baby. He *loves* the stories and I think he will really enjoy all the activities, too. My favorite resource for all things homeschool is Rainbow Resource Center- they almost always have the best prices, and here is their literature pack. Trust me when I tell you, you cannot buy all those books, even used, at that price; many of them are also out of print so to get them brand new from RRC is pretty awesome!
  • Language Arts– I know a lot can change in just a few months, but for right now I don’t think Max is ready for ThisReadingMama’s curriculum. Whenever he is, that’s what we will use as a supplement and beginning curriculum. I think maybe by fall or Christmas he will be ready to start! Until then, we will just review a letter a week or so, and continue with BFIAR. The other option is when he is to start him on AAR Pre-Reading; I never used that with Lexie, we just did our own thing to learn those skills, so I may just teach him myself without a curriculum.
  • Math: I don’t have anything in particular ready for Max and math. We have a TON of manipulatives and will just use them to learn basic math concepts and number sense- 1:1 correlation, sorting, patterns, more/less, etc. We are already playing with some of those concepts and will just continue down that path. Also, we will work on recognizing his numbers (he surprised me the other day by recognizing way more than I thought he knew!), and counting past 20.
  • Play, Play, Play, Play, Play! We will play a LOT. He is not my desk learner; he does LOVE to join us for learning time, he enjoys sitting at the counter and writing and listening in on Lexie’s lessons, but he isn’t ready for a long stretch of school yet, and that’s A-Okay! So we will play and learn through play.
  • Sitting in- Mister will sit in on our read alouds, join us for science lessons (and probably keep his own little science notebook), and anything else he shows an interest in.
  • Extracurricular- He has started gymnastics and *loves* it. He keeps asking about violin, but unlike Lexie I don’t think he will be ready at 3. So, we will see if he still shows interest as he gets older.

That’s it! That is our curriculum choices for 2015/2016.


Sonlight P4/5 Read Alouds and Weekly Wrap Up (MOY 14/15)

Well, we are in our 27th week of Sonlight P4/5 and *loving* it.  Homeschool this year has been wonderful for all of us.  This is a Middle Of Year 2014/2015 Update.

We love Sonlight and have enjoyed most of the read alouds immensely.  So far our favorites (and by “our” I mean Max-2yo and Lexie’s-4yo) have been Uncle Wiggly, Milly Molly Mandy, the art book, The Berenstain Bears’ Science Book, and they both love the Bible storybook we are using this year-101 Favorite Stories from the Bible.

I will say I was a little annoyed with the Berenstain Bears book by the time we finished reading it, but the kids loves it!  And The Favorite Stories from the Bible book is very honest and straight forward, which I love.  I only chose to skip one story, about Cain and Abel, but the rest we have read and discussed openly.  Lexie has been able to answer all the questions at the end of each story, and Max has been able to answer a few, too.  But they both ask to get it off the shelf often.

MOY Summary and Weekly Wrap Up {2014/2015}

Lexie’s Homeschool (4yo)

Lexie is reading so much- she brings me books from downstairs that she has read all by herself, and rereads them to me.  She is learning to read th and sh words in All About Reading.  We really love this program!

Her handwriting has improved drastically- we began writing on just blank pages (which is developmentally appropriate), moved on to large lined dry erase board, and now practice on both first grade lined dry erase board and on lined paper.  Her copywork consists of practicing letters, words, and writing simple sentences at this point.  She loves to write and writes letters to everyone about everything, for every occasion.  She also enjoys drawing pictures.  HWT has definitely helped us accomplish this!

Math is still just number sense; she has been coloring graphs, working on perception, and counting backwards.  We have also introduced number lines in a very simple manner, and she understands them.  She can do simple addition using manipulatives, but we haven’t worked on number sentences yet.  She is still only 4, so while we do things she enjoys & she would probably enjoy that, I don’t think we are ready for that yet.  To me, getting a good foundation in number sense is very important before moving on.

Science is random activities, youtube videos, books from our SL core, and anything the kids show an interest in.  We will use a science curriculum next year (Elemental Science) as an intro to sciences but we won’t do it very strictly.  It will introduce nature studies more formally, and how to keep a science notebook.

Max’s “homeschool” (2yo)

Mister loves joining us for learning time.  His favorite things are definitely: sorting by color, glueing, and using scissors.

We are working on reinforcing his letter recognition and learning to identify his numbers.   I have started introducing the “little” letters along with their “big letters” when we play around with IDing letters of the alphabet.  Lexie was just so visual; You told her what a letter was one time and she knew it.  Max doesn’t seem to learn that way, so I am trying to find his learning style.

He listens in on our read alouds and enjoys that time snuggling (or running around, building with blocks ..).  I am actually amazed when he is “writing” and coloring, he holds his markers and crayons correctly, naturally.  That was not a skill that came naturally to Lexie, I still have to correct the way she holds her pencil at times.

It has been such a mild winter, compared to the previous two years in NE.  But, I think January got confused with March, because it has been colder in Feb and march than it was in January and December.  So, outside time has been a little limited this winter.  We haven’t done any nature walks or nature studies lately.  We cannot wait for spring to finally arrive (and stick around..)!

I am planning out our curriculum for next fall.  We will continue SL P4/5 through the spring/summer, taking off the month of June for vacation, and then continue with some learning time here and there until fall.  In the fall, I plan to start Sonlight Core A with Lexie, Max will sit in while also enjoying BFIAR books.  I will use my favorite free online curriculum from ThisReadingMama, for his PreK (OMG how is it possible he will be 3?!).  Together we will all do Bible, history, and read alouds, science activities, and some art.  Then they will each have their own “work” for reading and math.

That’s it!  This is our middle of the year update; I can’t wait to see how we end this year.

How is your school year going so far?

Weekly Wrap Up {January 31}

Weekly Wrap Up {Jan 20 2015}

The past few weeks of homeschool have been great! We are on week 22 of Sonlight, I think.  This week we started reading The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook.  I have been anticipating this book ALL YEAR and I am so glad we are finally reading it.  It is precious, and the kids love it.  The chapters are plenty long to have good content, but not too long for their attention.  Of course the Lady would listen to me read all day, but even at 2 Mister will sit for quite some time!

Lexie is reading “qu” words this week in AAR, so she was very excited when I told her she can read more four letter words.  =)  She has been doing really well reading short phrases fluently for practice, and is reading the AAR Level 1 readers great!  I love watching her progress; it is so fun for both of us.  She is also ALL about writing letters to friends and family.  Every day she comes to me with a letter she has written that she wants to send off to someone- this past week it was her cousin Emily, and her friends here in York.  Last week she made cards and pictures for her gymnastics teacher .. so this is a big interest for her that we are following.  She takes her time, sounding out each word and writing the sound she hears.

In math she has been introduced to simple number lines and graphing, nothing too hard.  We are still working on writing numbers; honestly we don’t focus on math a lot at this point.  But that is okay, she’s four.  We aren’t in a rush to tackle everything!

Her interests are in reading, writing, and art right now.

Max joins us for learning time each day; he usually chooses to color with markers or sort by color- which he is still obsessed with.  I am trying to do short structured activities with him a few times a week, if he is interested.  He usually is.  We also read Max’s Before Five in A Row book each day, which makes him feel pretty special.  I am not sure which book we will read through next week.  We have spent two weeks reading the Snowy Day and doing activities for it.

This past week we read a book about the universe and solar system; so for science we will be learning about the solar system and planets.  I cannot WAIT to study this; obviously we won’t be going in depth like we would if she were in 7th grade, but we will be learning lots of great things!

Our memory work is a poem from The Children’s Book of Virtues; this is a beautiful book included in our Sonlight reading, but I highly recommend it for everyone with children!  The kids LOVE this book.  Mister is joining us for memory work also and does a really great job with each poem/verse.

Weekly Wrap Up {January 31}

This coming week we will be making Valentines to mail out and continuing our Sonlight books.  We have spent a lot of time outside this month (January) as it has been unseasonably warm- in the 50s and 60s almost every day for the last 3 weeks.  Then this morning, we woke up to snow!

I can’t believe it is already February- we have so much left I want to do, read, and learn with the kids before the really warm weather gets here and we are outside all day.  Better get to planning!



Weekly Wrap Up: 10/17/2014

Welcome to weekly wrap-up for the week of October 17, 2014!  (Today is actually mine and my husband’s 8 year anniversary!  woo hoo)  Anyhow- here is a little update on what we accomplished this week.

Lexie (4) worked on her sight words each morning.  I have printed out many different “sets” of sight words, which I have laminated.  I keep these on a “master” ring, and as I assign them to Lexie, I put them on her own ring.  This is something I learned while student teaching under a great Kindergarten teacher.  These are words like at, the, am, that, my, you; basically words she will see a lot while reading, but that don’t follow the typical reading/phonics rules (although some do ..).  She does great with these, and we introduce 1-2 new words as I feel she is ready.

Sight Words Ring {Quiet In The Chaos}

While he was out getting groceries, daddy grabbed us some pumpkins to play in!  He cut the tops off and we let the kids scoop out all the goop and seeds.  They put the seeds in a clean, empty bucket; later we washed and roasted them in the oven (post coming soon!).  We did this last year also, and they enjoyed it a lot.  Lexie had more fun than Max (he surprisingly doesn’t care much for “messy” play), but Charlie enjoyed eating the seeds they dropped!

Pumpkin Sensory Play {Quiet in the Chaos}

Unfortunately, both of them broke out in a rash after playing in the pumpkin (which they had smeared all over their faces and arms).  We still aren’t sure why this happened?  They ate the roasted seeds, & those didn’t bother them …

pumpkin reaction

cheeks broken out from pumpkin? =/


One thing is for sure, I’ve gotta get the kids some epi pens. J.Tom has severe reactions to wasp stings and would need to go to the ER if stung on his chest/neck/head, and although the kids have never been stung, I don’t want to risk what might happen if they were.

This week I started doing more “structured” activities with Mister.  He knows maybe 1/2 of his letters?  But isn’t interested in sitting down and learning them like Big Sister was.  I am 100% okay with that, but thought he might enjoy a quick craft to get introduced to the idea. He enjoyed it for the most part; he isn’t a fan of glue on his hands (yet), but he had fun making an “H” and hanging it on the door by Lexie’s creations.  While I did that with Max, she created a magazine collage with pictures she found in my Real Simple magazine.

For Mister I am going to focus a little on a letter or two a week and plan an activity for him to join in on while Lexie does something independently; he loves to be included, i just need to find things he enjoys.  After he gets the hang of activities I hope to incorporate Before Five In A Row after Christmas.

For his H activity I just cut out a letter H, had him help me come up with “H” words (he knows his letter sounds, just not all the correct letter names) to write on it, then he colored on it and made ovals.  I traced his hands and he glued everything together.


And you know … we do a lot of this (after every feeding, actually).  They always want to take a turn holding Baby Ila after I nurse and giver her a bottle.

5 weeks old

How was your week?  Did you do any new activites?

Weekly Wrap Up: September 6, 2014

{written week of September 6, 2014} Lexie has been very excited about learning time- she loves our “learning time books” (Sonlight read alouds) and doing her activities.  I had planned to sorta put school on the back burner these last few weeks before baby, but she is having no part of that This week Lexie (4) has been working on:

  • reading with AAR (she is doing great!) and sight words
  • writing numbers 1-10 with Singapore and identifying more difficult shapes (soon to be 3d shapes)
  • fine motor skills/writing & strokes HWOT
  • Bible, read alouds, and science with Sonlight
  • Bears lapbooks (she wanted to learn about bears)
  • we have also been playing with play do and Sands Alive for fine motor and creativity
  • writing words- she has “writing books” her daddy brings her from each country he visits.  She has been practicing writing out words phonetically.  It is amazing what she can write!  very proud of her

Max has also become VERY interested in our “learning time books,” aka read alouds.  He likes to climb in my lap and read with us, which is great.  He even retold a story (kinda..) to his daddy when he got home the other night.  He is also learning his shapes and we are still working on his letters.  For his birthday, my Granny got him this ABC puzzle by HAPE Toys; we *love* this puzzle because it allows him to manipulate the letters (standing them up, etc).  It is wonderful for tactile learners.  I hope to start Before Five In A Row with him after Christmas- I think he will really enjoy the stories and activities.


Enjoying AAR

Playing letter sound BINGO- part of AAR Level 1

Overall it has been a wonderful last few weeks in our homeschool, before we add another tiny human to our home!

Sonlight P4/5: What I think so far

After I wrote this post , I did a lot of praying, thinking, re-googling and reading, and a lot more praying.

The next morning I woke up, and began purchasing what we need for Sonlight P4/5 for next year.  Between Sonlight, Amazon, and eBay I got everything we need, plus supplemental materials, for less than the package from SL.  This is important to our family; we try to live on a budget and I needed homeschool for this year to fit into that budget.

Sonlight P 4/5 review Part 1

I don’t know if we will go with SL in the future?  I don’t know if it will (mostly) fit what I want for my kids as they get older, but I do know after looking in the instructor’s guide for P4/5, it will fit us perfectly this year!

In the Instructor’s Guide, I am excited to see (and wasn’t expecting):

  • extra activities, cognitive and hands on, that we can add into our lessons and Max can be included
  • room to write in other activities- like our extra memory work, math lessons, etc
  • character traits to focus on that go with the week’s memory verse (LOVE character lessons in this house)

I went back and ordered the binder and tabs.  The tabs (which are weekly) can’t be found elsewhere up to week 36, and the binders have their own reputation for holding up well.  I also bought extra color-coding stickers for our book spines, because I plan to add more books into our reading.  (I may get their P3/4 sticker labels for our BFIAR books, so I can organize them as well for Max later.)  We read a lot.  But what I like about adding in our own selections is that we can read them as quickly or as slowly as we want, and it just adds more great literature.

There are a few titles that I am super excited about; the The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature is one of them!  I think that will fit nicely with our Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects we will add in on our own, and nature studies.

Another title I think will be fun is the audio CD of American Tall Tales.  We love books on CD, and this looks like a great one.  We have the stories that go along with these in our book of Children’s fairytales and fables, A Treasury of Children’s Literature, though Sonlight doesn’t actually call for the physical books for them.

Now, I just have to structure out our extra memory work (poems), All About Reading, and Saxon math lessons into our schedule, and we will be ready to go!  Well, I also have to decide when we will begin, because with baby #3 coming in September, we will need to start early (probably August); but I also like the idea of just taking the month before baby to do nothing but spend time with the kids outside and hold the structure off until after baby comes.  Who know what we will do!  =)

Have you used Sonlight P4/5 in your homeschool?  Are you using something else?  Please share in the comments!


Weekly Wrap Up: October 27, 2013 {Katy No-Pocket, Before Five in A Row}

This week we read the book,Katy No-Pocket.  Lexie really enjoyed this story.  When we read it, Max decided he needed to go get our kangaroo stuffed animal and make it “hop hop hop.”

tracing the number of syllables, the drawing of her apple,
and just some doodles with the letter L

This past week, we started clapping out syllables.  Lexie is really into words, and how they sound so I thought it was something she would either A) enjoy and understand, or B) enjoy and not really understand, or C) tell me she didn’t like it, didn’t understand it, and we would move on.

Well, she mostly understands it!  She has a hard time sometimes telling me how many times she clapped (like, she doensn’t keep count while she is clapping) but she always claps the syllables correctly … I was very proud of her!  She told me this morning, “I really like doing activities.  But syl-lal-bles are hard.”  But she continued to do them.

Here is a loose outline of our week:
BFIAR Story: Katy No Pocket (we used this lap book printable)

Memory Work: 
Psalm 118:24  “This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Naming 5 senses (review)
I’m Glad, poem by Christina Rosetti (review)

Habits/Character: Generosity
Deuteronomy 15:8, ties into Katy No Pocket
1 Timothy 6:18
Bible story Luke 16:19-31

counting syllables (LOVES this!)
Letter Aa, sight word at (review because she already knows at) but this leads up to the -at word family for next week which she also knows, but review is good.

her first name, introduce writing last name
Letter Aa, sight word at
Lexie has been requesting we write all of our names on her dry erase board, so she can trace them, spell, and read them.

fall, senses
Singapore Math Unit 2 contd. begin Unit 3
Australia (Katy No Pocket), review NSEW, north and south poles, continent song, Oceans (all review)

do a dot paints, paint on easel, sensory bath with peppermint oil, violin lessons, gymnastics,
and of course paying outside as much as possible!  =)

Max is mostly just learning his animal sounds (which he knows), reading books, doing sensory activities like the bath play, stacking blocks for fine motor skills, etc.  I think this week I may let him do messy play with dairy-free pasta.  If you have ideas for dairy free, safe, messy play for a 13 month old, let me know!

I can’t imagine Lexie without her learning time- she would be bouncing off the walls!  She just loves learning time; she craves the structure, the challenge, and the one on one time with me.  It is just so good for her, and I feel very blessed that I am able to enjoy it with her.

Family Bible is her favorite, and she loves the Noah’s Ark picture.
She loves doing the poke pages from Reading the Alphabet, and this is how she is learning her sight words.  So far she knows: look, at, I, see, and the by sight (most of the time  haha).
Poke page from Reading the Alphabet by: This Reading Mama

Later in the week we decided to cut open the pumpkins we had on the front porch, and do some exploring.  It was a LOT of fun!  Scarlet, the dog, enjoyed cleaning up the mess…


Snuggy day with babies.  Lexie likes to read to Max, when she is feeling snuggy and calm.


 A week after recovering from colds, eating sourdough pancakes and kombucha- full of probiotics to help recovery.

At the end of the week, we went for haircuts {before family pictures}.  I always enjoy getting Lexie a haircut- I love those curls short and bouncy! (and manageable!)

The night of DST, we were keeping the kids up a little later so they would sleep to regular time the next morning.  We had been wanting to take them bowling, so we chose that night to try it.  It was a HUGE hit!  We will definitely be going more often!

And that was most of our week.  As usual, Lexie did great at gymnastics and violin.  She really enjoys her time with Ms. Brianna at violin.  She gets to practice using her bow this week, so we are looking forward to that!

  Still trying to figure out Mister’s naps; he is almost ready to drop the second nap, which is causing early waking in the mornings, and it takes him longer to fall asleep at naps.  His naps determine Lexie’s learning time and activities, and also when I can get blog posts written!  I am still debating on trying to wean him onto one nap, or just going cold turkey (which is more my style…).  This weaning process makes me nervous and feels hectic, since I never know what time he will finally fall asleep or wake up.  Not fun …

And that’s it!  We are expecting lots of rain, and possible “wintery mix” today. 

Have a great week!
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